Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oslo: Sunday 22nd March 2009

Today we walked alongside the wharf looking at the fortress alongside. Oslo had a new opera house, opened in 2008, which sits on the waterfront. A very modern building that has a series of stairs so one could walk around them and end up on the roof. Kiri Te Kanawa is going to sing there on Monday.

We checked out the Norwegian parliament which was rather non-descript. The town hall was imposing and had many sculptures, but looked like something out of the communist architecture school. We took a bus 30 to Bygd√ły, a area out of the centre of the town, where a number of maritime museums are located. We visited the Viking ship museum. Here there were 3 viking ships that were found and excavated around 1900. These ships had not sailed but were burial ships and the deceased had been buried with the ship. 2 were for wealthy Vikings and the 3rd was for a wealthy lady buried with her slave. It was quite interesting and some of the artefacts recovered from the same area were fascinating such as the intricately carved cart and the fragments of cloth.

From there we went to the Fram museum, which was an unexpected pleasure. The boat, Fram, which was built around 1890, has been the most far north into the Artic and also the most far south into the Antarctic. There was a very interesting exhibit on Nansen, a Norwegian polar pioneer who also won the Nobel Peace prize for his humanitarian work. The account of Amundsen’s trip to the south pole was similarly fascinating. He was a very good photographer and his pictures of eskimoes and travels added interest to an already fascinating story

In the afternoon we briefly visited the Munch museum, but didn’t see his most famous work “the Scream”. Some of his other paintings were quite appealing, others not so. We are taking the overnight ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen DFDS line “Crown of Scandanavia” which is very similar to the last big ship we took. When we got our bill for our restaurant meal onboard, we realised the wine cost as much as each of our meals - really there are 3 of us travelling through Scandinavia - Andrew, Paula and a bottle of wine

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